Our Rotherham Poem

Hive is so immensely proud of the unveiling of: Our Rotherham, a film poem written by Vicky Morris and Rotherham Young Writers to celebrate YORKSHIRE DAY, commissioned by the Rotherham Council Events Team.

The film was made by the brilliant John Slemenek at Studio Bokehgo and a whole host of people were involved from the Rotherham community, including Rotherham Young Writers. 1st August, Yorkshire Day, was meant to be a big celebration in Rotherham, but because of the pandemic, it wasn’t possible. Although it’s not quite the same, the film, we hope, has brought people together virtually to feel proud.

OUR ROTHERHAM, OUR YORKSHIRE

We are incredibly proud to present to you ‘OUR ROTHERHAM, OUR YORKSHIRE’ – a film created with the support of our community to celebrate Yorkshire Day and our town.

Huge thanks going to Studio Bokehgo for their boundless enthusiasm, professionalism and amazing film-making talent. Thanks also to all the fantastic young writers and Vicky from Hive South Yorkshire for their wonderful and inspiring words. Thanks to Gemma from the Button Tin for creating the beautiful banner. And last, but certainly by no means least, thank you to ALL the wonderful people who agreed to take part in the film, you are all truly AWESOME!

HAPPY YORKSHIRE DAY

Posted by RMBCEvents on Saturday, 1 August 2020

The poem came together through poetry workshopping and notes gathering with Rotherham Young Writers, and such were the reams everyone had to say about it, the full version of the poem (hopefully to be recorded soon!) was twice as long as what was possible for the film. We also must thank: Emma Sharpe (REMA), Jen Booth, Tair Rafiq and Karen Eynon for letting us pick their brains!

Thanks to RMBC Events team: Jane, Sarah and all for working with our vision for this poem and trusting us to do Rotherham proud!

“It’s been so lovely to see the emotional responses to the film and the pride people feel for Rotherham that’s reflected so beautifully in it. In recently years, it’s had a lot of bad press weighing it down, but it’s such an amazing town and people, with, as the poem says, so much heritage and natural beauty. Rotherham Young Writers and I are very proud to have represented it.” Vicky Morris

 

“It was a honour to be involved in this project. I’m very proud to be from Rotherham. And to have come up with the watter/water, do-or lines and have helped with the final edit!” Jordan Mangnall, Rotherham Young Writers/Jaded Heart

 

“Insightful, Inspirational and Moving a fantastic piece of work you have truly captured the spirit of this town.” SM comment

Orwell Youth Prize 2020 – congratulations!

We are delighted that Molly Hammerton-Woodhouse from Rotherham Young Writers & Naomi Thomas of Sheffield Young Writers are both senior runners-up in the ORWELL YOUTH PRIZE 2020.

The theme this year was – the future we want. The Orwell Foundation received a record number (over 1200!) of entries this year, with young writers from across the UK creatively responding to the theme through essays, poetry, prose, and reportage on topics from climate change to living in a more equitable world. Every entry was read by at least two assessors, and the final winners were chosen by the 2020 judges Kerry Hudson and Kayo Chingonyi. Congratulations to all who were placed!

On Molly’s work, judge Kayo Chingonyi said: This poem displayed an exceptionally well-managed sense of tone. You can really imagine the person speaking and the world to which they belong. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the use of poetic form which is evidenced in the artful line breaks as well as the way the poem takes George Szirtes’s brilliant advice on poetic first lines and last lines (‘step on heavily, step off lightly’). 
On Naomi’s work, judge Kerry Hudson said: This piece contained some of the most unique and stand out prose of the entire competition. I feel like there’s a longer piece (perhaps a novel?) in the making.’

Molly said: ‘I’m incredibly honoured to have been awarded runner up in the senior category as it’s helped me prove to myself that I am a good writer and have the potential to follow my desired career path – especially when considering this is the first competition I’ve entered, and it is a national one with a record number of entries! I am very humbled by this achievement.’
Naomi said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted – this is such a wonderful encouragement for me to not be afraid to fight for what I’m passionate about through my writing.’

The Orwell Youth Prize is an annual programme for 12-18-year olds culminating in a writing prize. Rooted in Orwell’s values of integrity and fairness, the prize and the activities around it introduce young people to the power of language and provoke them to think critically and creatively about the world in which they are living.

With a focus on social justice, the themes of the Youth Prize ask young people to respond to big ideas, past themes have included: ‘Truth vs. Lies’, ‘Identity’ and ‘A Fair Society?’. We believe increasing young people’s confidence in writing, critical thinking, and interest in social justice helps to equip them for their next step, whether that be higher education, apprenticeships or work.

www.orwellfoundation.com

Congratulations to Naomi Thomas Northern Writers Award 2020

We are delighted that Naomi Thomas of Sheffield Young Writers has been Highly Commended in the Young Northern Writers Award 2020 for her short fiction. Naomi will receive ongoing support from New Writing North, including future opportunities for developing her writing.

Naomi said: “This award has encouraged me to take myself seriously as a writer. The fact that other people have enjoyed my work has made me feel much more confident in exploring what I’m passionate about in my writing, and using the styles that excite me, rather than doing what I think will ‘look good’. I’m so grateful for such an incredible opportunity to have my stories recognised, and for the time and dedication that Nik and Vicky at Hive have put into supporting me and getting me here.”

 

Mentor Nik Perring said: “We’re absolutely thrilled for Naomi! This is thoroughly deserved. With her ability to generate amazing and intriguing ideas and turn them into delightful and affecting stories, she has a very bright future ahead of her.”

The Northern Writers Awards Scheme is a talent development programme recognising unpublished, work-in-progress by new and established writers from across the North of England. The scheme worth around £40,00 and now in its 21st year, is run by New Writing North with funding from Arts Council England and support from Northumbria University.

Congratulations to all Northern Writer Award winners 2020!
………..

Naomi Thomas is a 17-year-old writer and committed member of Sheffield Young Writers. She won two Sheffield-based short story competitions in 2014 and 2016. In 2019 she was highly commended in the Forward Arts Foundation/EMC e-magazine Creative Critics Competition and Hive Young Writers competition. Hannah’s story Breakfast was published in Hive anthology Surfing the Twilight and she has work forthcoming in Sheffield Hallam University’s Matter journal.  She is a new recruit of the Writing Squad.

More about the Northern Writers Award
The Northern Writers’ Awards is an innovative and progressive talent development programme, which supports writers to achieve their creative ambitions at all stages of their careers. This year the awards attracted over 1,200 entries. The awards recognise unpublished work-in-progress by new and established writers in the North of England.
The Northern Writers’ Awards are produced by New Writing North with funding from Arts Council England and support from Northumbria University, Channel 4 and North East Chamber of Commerce.

……..
New Writing North is the reading and writing development agency for the north of England, and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. It works in partnership with regional and national partners to produce a range of literary and performance activities including flagship projects such as the Northern Writers’ Awards, Read Regional, Cuckoo Young Writers, the Gordon Burn Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and Durham Book Festival. www.newwritingnorth.com

About Northumbria University
Northumbria University, Newcastle is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. Complementing its work with New Writing North and Channel 4, the University works with a range of high profile cultural partners, including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Live Theatre, Great North Run Culture and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums providing students with industry exposure and live project opportunities.  We were awarded the Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in 2012, as well as the Journal’s Culture Award for Best Arts and Business Partnership in 2013. Northumbria University’s Art and Design courses were ranked Top 10 in the UK for Research Power following the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and the University was ranked Top 50 in the UK – its highest ever league table position – in the Guardian University League Table 2017. www.northumbria.ac.uk

100 Days of Lockdown: A Disabled Writer’s Experience

Writing Picture Books

Curious to see what it takes to write a children’s picture book manuscript? Wondered what an editor will be looking for?

Join Emma Layfield, Hachette’s Picture Book Development Director, North, with Nik Perring, for a talk and Q&A, and then stretch your own writing muscle with picture books in mind. Find out about the picture book market today in the UK and internationally, including hot themes and latest trends. Emma will explain how to create and format a picture book and discuss what she’s looking for, and talk about Hachette’s picture book open days for unpublished writers. You’ll get to ask her questions too.

You don’t have to be an illustrator (or a visual person) to write a picture book, but many writers get to work with great illustrators as part of the process of turning their story into art!

FREE | on Crowdcast online [no video/audio needed] | open to young writers (14 to 30)
When: 6th July 2020 | 6-7pm | placed limited
To book email: info@hivesouthyorkshire.com with your name, age & writing interests

These amazing cover images are all Hachette books. You can find them here: www.hachettechildrens.co.uk

Emma Layfield
(Picture Book Development Director, North, Hachette UK)
After twenty years of working with Hachette Children’s Group in London, Emma Layfield recently took on a new role as Picture Book Development Director, North, based in Manchester. She is responsible for networking, building relationships and looking for business opportunities in the north of England and Scotland, and focuses on acquiring picture book talent living in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Scotland to publish onto the Hachette Children’s Group list.

Hachette Children’s Group
Hachette Children’s Group is one of the largest children’s publishers in the UK, with an excellent track record in creating bestselling and award-winning books for children.  The Group aims to cater for every child, with baby and pre-school books, picture books, gift, fiction, non-fiction, series fiction, books for the school and library market and licensed publishing and comprises the imprints Hodder Children’s Books, Orchard Books, Orion Children’s Books, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Quercus Children’s Books, Pat-a-Cake, Wren & Rook, Franklin Watts and Wayland Books.

Me, Arvon & Claudia Jones

When I heard about the Arvon ‘Writing for Performance with Communities’ retreat in pre-lockdown February, I was so excited. It sounded like just what I was looking for – new ways to develop as a writer and performer, but also as a practitioner and facilitator of others.

Typically, deep down worries got the better of me – is this for me? Will I be able to go? But I quelled them down and hushed their whispers – feel the fear and do it anyway right? Then, lo and behold, after submitting my application I received confirmation that I had a place!  I was lucky enough to receive a partial bursary from Hive and Arvon in support of emerging writers who aren’t often able to financially afford incredible opportunities like this one.

I’m passionate about making changes in the arts, and that more people are able to access opportunities. This led me to set up Nyara School of Arts in 2018, a project aimed at creatively supporting young people from African Diaspora backgrounds. For some time, I’ve been particularly interested in fusing different forms or art, language and theatre. This looked like a course that was really going to inspire me.

I’m passionate about making changes in the arts, and that more people are able to access opportunities. This led me to set up Nyara School of Arts in 2018, a project aimed at creatively supporting young people from African Diaspora backgrounds.

A cocktail of emotions ensued but there I was at the train station a few weeks later waiting for my train. Many questions invaded my mind so I plugged in Leon Bridges (Texas Sun) to quieten the noise. As time passed, small villages and towns introduced themselves and I felt the descent of a relaxed way of life welcoming me with open arms.

After leaving the train station I noticed a woman in the distance who spoke to my spirit and I felt that she was coming to the retreat too (but we’ll leave that till later). I took the local bus towards my destination. Old cobblestones lined the streets of Heptonstall and the closeness of each building made me feel I had travelled back in time.

Then, I landed at the top of a narrow, winding lane that led me down to a farmhouse neatly tucked away – Lumb Bank. Here I was warmly greeted by a group of lovely women who had travelled from various places, as far-flung as Australia, to embark on this journey together. We introduced ourselves, exchanged stories and anxious laughter and I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I felt.

Then, I landed at the top of a narrow, winding lane that led me down to a farmhouse neatly tucked away – Lumb Bank. Here I was warmly greeted by a group of lovely women who had travelled from various places, as far-flung as Australia, to embark on this journey together.

We were welcomed and briefed with the formalities by a lovely house-keeper, and later met our incredible tutors for the week, Francesca Beard and Sara Clifford, at dinner. We were responsible for cooking lunch and dinner throughout the week which happened to be very delicious I must add – six wonderful vegetarian meals accompanied by wine, games and a lot of laughter. Being an autistic woman – I’m not a big fan of group scenarios, nor do I always work well in groups, but I came to learn so I threw caution to the wind and got stuck in.

Throughout the week we learned about community performance, what community meant, site-specific work and writing in response to the environment we were in. We began most days with the lovely Francesca Beard setting and grounding us into the space creating an open and safe atmosphere. We did many group exercises and drama games which were shared with the knowledge that we would try them in our own practice.

Throughout the week we learned about community performance, what community meant, site-specific work and writing in response to the environment we were in. We began most days with the lovely Francesca Beard setting and grounding us into the space creating an open and safe atmosphere.

As each day passed by, the bonds grew stronger, tears were shed, conversations flowed and discussions of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes strolling the hallways in the late 60’s made for hot debate. There was a quiet permissiveness about Lumb Bank. The many literary companions that lined the shelves, the intimacy of Calderdale’s hills and valleys surrounding the house. The persistent rain that conveniently kept us inside in our cosy rooms, all made it much easier to feel at ease. And, I was picking up many wonderful tools that involved song, mindfulness and improvisation. At the heart of it all was community.

Although I didn’t write much, the retreat gave me permission to think deeply about Nyara and how best I could move forward in my own practice. Most importantly it helped me to feel confident as a facilitator. The one-to-ones with our tutors certainly boosted my confidence in my own projects, and we spent the last day preparing five-minute scratch pieces which were a lovely communal way to end the retreat.

Although I didn’t write much, the retreat gave me permission to think deeply about Nyara and how best I could move forward in my own practice. Most importantly it helped me to feel confident as a facilitator.

Meeting Claudia Jones
You remember that woman that spoke to my spirit? Well, her name is Joyce Fraser and the tingle of my spidey senses were right, she was also heading to the retreat! On the Friday afternoon she approached me asking if I’d like to perform a piece that she had written, a story exploring the early life of Claudia Jones, the Mother of the first Caribbean Carnival in the UK (the prelude to Notting Hill). As a child, she had journeyed from post-war Trinidad in 1924 with her family to Harlem, New York, in pursuit of a better life. Having moved from Jamaica as a child, I immediately resonated with this beautiful story she had written and agreed to play the role of Claudia along with two other stories written by two brilliant actresses.

Later that final evening, we were transported to a school hall, the garden of a mother, a Caribbean carnival, a ship on its way to New York and other wonderful stories written by the women in our group. There was a lingering feeling of sadness and overwhelm roaming the air with the quiet awareness of evolving and connection.

Later that final evening, we were transported to a school hall, the garden of a mother, a Caribbean carnival, a ship on its way to New York and other wonderful stories written by the women in our group. There was a lingering feeling of sadness and overwhelm roaming the air with the quiet awareness of evolving and connection.

The biggest lesson that I came away with was the power of women and community. That when we gather, no matter the age, background, race or ethnicity we are powerful together. This has reinforced my faith in togetherness, what it meant and what it could mean, but most of all the importance of cultivating that family of people that hold the same values, visions and principles. Before I knew it, I was stripping the bed sheets and saying my goodbyes to the place that had been my home, and community, for the week.

In May I got a call from Joyce asking me if I wanted to play the part of Claudia Jones as part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe Festival, and without hesitation, I agreed. We had the direction of the brilliant Moji Elufowoju – Artistic Director and founder of Utopia Theatre who helped us unearth the story. For first timers, this was no easy feat, but with less than two weeks to rehearse, and an unceasing determination to see it to the end, I was committed when it came showtime on Saturday 23rd of May. Rehearsals in the morning and afternoon, research, daily Zoom meetings, and an intense learning and rehearsing process (in light of Covid-19) taught us resilience in the face of the unknown, and adaptability to whatever came our way.

Rehearsals in the morning and afternoon, research, daily Zoom meetings, and an intense learning and rehearsing process (in light of Covid-19) taught us resilience in the face of the unknown, and adaptability to whatever came our way.

Through ‘The story of Claudia Jones’, I learnt so much about myself that I hadn’t known before. I learnt the beauty and importance of working as a team, being committed to a vision, and the importance of honing one’s craft. I learned that it takes dogged determination and love to get to the intricacies of an artform such as acting and I commend every actor that immerses themselves into a story and in front of an audience.

I learned that it takes dogged determination and love to get to the intricacies of an artform such as acting and I commend every actor that immerses themselves into a story and in front of an audience.

Joyce plans for the play to be developed into a full production which will be taken on tour through the Black Heroes Foundation – the organisation Joyce Fraser founded. You can find more about the brilliant work Joyce does in London and around the UK to promote and develop cultural awareness of our Black heroes on www.blackheroesfoundation.org, and you can also tune into the production here.

The tools and pool of knowledge I have taken away from both the Arvon retreat and the production have been immense, and I will continue to pursue training opportunities in acting and develop my leadership skills in the Black arts world. In closing, I will leave you with this that Vicky told me at Hive. I believe it could be true; “Don’t be afraid to dream and to take the opportunities that are there because sometimes they only come once.”

Danae Wellington

Danae Wellington is a Jamaican-British writer, poet and advocate for healing through the creative arts, specifically through the fusion of poetry, storytelling, music and theatre. She’s been published in several anthologies including Halfway Smile and Surfing the Twilight (Hive 2018/2019) and has performed at places like the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival and Sheaf Poetry Festival. She won first prize in the 20-25 category of Hive Poetry Competition 2019. In 2018 she set up Nyara School of Arts a project aimed at creatively supporting young people from African Diaspora backgrounds. For more info: @MamasKitchen31@Nyaraartssheff

(Main photo of DW courtesy of Warren Draper)

School’s Out – Ada Urbaniak

New Poets Prize Winners 2020

We are utterly delighted that 17-year-old Georgie Woodhead of Sheffield Young Writers, and 18-year-old Lauren Hollingsworth Smith of Rotherham Young Writers, are both winners of the international New Poets Prize 2020 – for their debut pamphlet collections ‘Takeaway’ and ‘Ugly Bird’. Both have been part of the Hive network for several years and are also members of Hive’s Poetry Collective, and new recruits to the Writing Squad. 

Poet and mentor Vicky Morris says: “I’m so thrilled for them both. So young and so much talent! They’re both a pleasure to work with and have their own distinct voices. It’s been a joy watching them grow into them through Hive.”

Bagging the highly sought after prize offers Georgie and Lauren the wonderful prize of pamphlet publication with The Poetry Business alongside two other winners, Gboyega Odubanjo and Lucy Holt – a huge congratulations to all!

We want to say a massive thank you to The Poetry Business for supporting early-career writers so young, and offering this wonderful opportunity to move onto publication. Georgie and Lauren join fellow Hive poet, Warda Yassin, who won the New Poets Prize in 2018 with her wonderful pamphlet, Tea With Cardamom available here. This year’s judge was Luke Kennard.

Luke Kennard on Lauren’s collection, ‘Ugly Bird’
Hollingsworth–Smith’s poems are immediately and joyfully readable even at their darkest, and Ugly Bird is full of masterful juxtapositions, emotional swerves and perfect details (the angle of an OHP, the plastic tiara prongs). It’s such a skill to navigate these waters with such attentiveness; defiant, ecstatic powers of observation transfiguring the ordinary with wit and self-awareness.

 

Lauren says: “I’m overwhelmed to win the New Poets Prize! I wouldn’t be where I am now without Hive. It’s opened up so many opportunities for me and realised my dream of being a published writer. Thank you so much, and to The Poetry Business, for this amazing opportunity.”

Lauren Hollingsworth Smith is an 18-year-old writer from Rotherham and a member of Hive’s poetry collective and Rotherham Young Writers. She was one of 15 winners in the international Foyle Young Poet of the Year Awards in 2019, and was highly commended in the Young Northern Writers Award and Ilkley Young Writers Competition in the same year. Lauren volunteers as a writing mentor with children at Grimm & Co and is passionate about continuing to build her craft as a writer. She has been published in Hive anthologies, halfway smile and surfing the twilight, and by The Poetry Society. She was recently commissioned to write a poem for Hive’s Birdlife project. Lauren has performed at various young writers’ events and festivals including the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival. She is a new recruit to the Writing Squad.

Luke Kennard on Georgie’s collection, ‘Takeaway’
Takeaway is a vivid and powerful collection. Expansive but precise lines and stanzas give Woodhead the space to explore the lives and scenes she depicts. So many of the images here are breathtaking and will really stay with me. ‘Harry Collins’ is such a vivid, poignant and angry character study and the title poem alone was enough to convince me that I was in the presence of a significant and urgent new voice. Uncompromising in its depiction of brutalities without ever sacrificing the humanity and compassion of the poet’s vision.

 

Georgie says: “I’m thrilled to be a Winner of the New Poets Prize 2020! Thank you to Hive for the incredible support, advice, and mentorship over the years to get to this stage.”

Georgie Woodhead is a 17-year-old writer who attends Sheffield Young Writers and Hive’s Poetry Collective. In 2018 she was a winner of the Foyle Young Poet of the Year, one of two highly commended young poets in the Young Northern Writers Award, and 2nd place winner in the Ledbury Poetry Competition (young people’s category). In 2019 she was the winner of the BBC Young Writer of The Year and was Young Poet in Residence at Sheaf Poetry Festival. In 2020 she was a recipient of the Newcastle Young Writers Prize, and was highly commended in the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition. Georgie has been published in the Hive anthologies, Halfway Smile, Wild Poetry and Surfing the Twilight, and by places like the Poetry Society and the Poetry Village. She’s performed widely at open mics and live events including the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival 2018, and has been a guest on Ian McMillan’s The Verb on Radio 3. She is a new recruit to the Writing Squad.

For more information, and to purchase 2020’s New Poets publications (when they are hot off the press!) visit The Poetry Business

Every Little Helps – Isabel Hawksworth

How Far Is Too Far? Isabelle Osborne

How far is too far? Track & Trace in the Time of Pandemics

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, countries across the world have reacted to reducing its spread and devastation in dramatically different ways. Here in the UK, our government has taken the defensive approach, locking down the country